You might have guessed that I'm not a very even tempered person and that the peaceful, present-minded, serene mama got eaten by my Big Bad Bad Ass Mama Self somewhere around month 9.
You might also have guessed that I kind of like things to go my way. I'm spoiled. Or controlling.
So when new "developmental phases" (Read: Horrible, Horrible Behavior Thingies) pop up, usually somewhere in public like a crowded restaurant, I do what any other level headed parent would do:
I wig out.
This usually involves the following dignified sequence: Address it quietly through clenched teeth, thereby worsening the situation; snap my husband's head off publicly; yell at my kid a few times; threaten to leave, thereby exponentially worsening the situation; get talked off the ledge by a more experienced parent; go home and drink tequila.
I do this about every three months. Finally it dawned on me: I do this about every three months. And because I like to think that, although hot-headed, I have evolved somewhat over the years of motherhood, I examine that fact. What happens every three months? I am not on Seasonale, so we can rule out PMS.
She changes. About every three months, she changes. Just when I've gotten used to one kid, I get another one. Just when I'm taking the things I delight in the most for granted, new ones emerge. Better ones. Longer hugs and sweeter "I love yous". The baby miracle of of identifying shapes in Abby's Sesame Book of Shapes is replaced by toddler dramatic readings of Where the Wild Things Are. And just when I think I can't possibly handle another episode of Caillou, she discovers Kipper and leaves that whiney 'fraidy cat in the dust.
About every three months, something pops up that I don't know how to handle. So I freak. Freaking is my best friend. Freaking keeps me from sailing unconsciously through motherhood. Mama Freaks are my strongest magnet, pulling me to check in with my inner compass and examine my own parenting. Pulling me to make a plan. Pulling me toward the fair sailing due north that I can rely on when I check in to see what's feeling good to us all. Freaking out is my Big Fat Signal that something needs to give - either me, or her, or the environment, or the plan, or the support systems.
The good news about Freaking and Feel Good Parenting is that freaking pretty much feels BAD, so it's not something that tends to repeat itself over the same issue. Now that I'm more tuned in to the compass, the freaking is just a not-so-gentle teacher. No need to obsess and feel bad about it. Just make it right, learn the lesson, and move on. Feels good.